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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

193 MI HEARTSafe Schools recognized for cardiac emergency preparedness efforts
713 schools receive designation in nine-year history

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Education (MDE), American Heart Association, Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY) will return in-person to celebrate 193 schools receiving the MI HEARTSafe School designation for the 2021-2022 school year on Nov. 10. Since the program began in 2013, 713 schools have earned this honor and 461 schools are actively designated.

With schools ramping up medical emergency efforts, preparation for cardiac emergencies has never been more important. This year, 193 schools are being recognized for efforts to orchestrate preparedness activities during the 2021-2022 school year. There are 63 schools receiving the award for the first time.

To receive a MI HEARTSafe School designation, schools must have:

  • A written medical emergency response plan and team that can respond to an emergency during school hours and after-school activities and sports.
  • Current CPR/AED certification of at least 10% of staff and 50% of coaches, including 100% of head varsity coaches and physical education staff.
  • Accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying locations.
  • Annual cardiac emergency response drills.
  • Pre-participation sports screening of all student athletes using the current physical and history form endorsed by MHSAA.

“Sudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 300 Michigan children and young adults every year,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Having schools prepared for cardiac emergencies can help decrease the number of these tragedies and prepare school employees to have the training necessary to respond in a timely manner and avert what could be a life-threatening situation. We encourage all schools to apply for a HEARTSafe certification.”

Keeping up with the MI HEARTSafe School criteria is vital for maintaining a safe environment for schools. Resources to help meet the criteria are available on the MI HEARTSafe School website. MAP-SCDY will also be hosting a virtual workshop in January to educate schools on how to become a MI HEARTSafe School.

“We are proud to recognize and support Michigan’s HEARTSafe schools,” said state superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Ensuring schools are prepared for sudden cardiac emergencies through planning, training and life-saving AEDs is an important part of having safer learning environments for students, staff and the community.”

This is MI HEARTSafe Schools program’s ninth year. A HEARTSafe designation lasts for three years, and 50 schools received their third MI HEARTSafe award this year. It is encouraging and commendable to have schools continue to renew the designation every three years.

A list of participating schools is available online.

For more information about the MI HEARTSafe Schools program, visit or email.